The Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers already reported for training camp, and the other 29 teams are expected to begin their training camps tomorrow. So let’s discuss the biggest storylines to keep an eye on during camp.
Aaron Rodgers/ Green Bay Packers- Aaron Rodgers has dominated the headlines this offseason once Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on the day of the draft that he wanted out of Green Bay. This issue has nothing to do with money as the Packers offered him a two- year contract extension which would have made him the highest paid quarterback in the National Football League.However, Rodgers still turned it down. The reason Rodgers is upset with the organization is because they have not been treating him like the star he is. For example, the Packers were never willing to give Rodgers multiple weapons to throw to or let him have say in who they should sign to their roster. On top of that, Rodgers was not happy when Green Bay traded up to draft Jordan Love without giving him a heads up of what their plans were. Originally, the Packers were planning to move on from Rodgers after the 2020 season to give the job to Love until Rodgers had an MVP season. With the Packers starting training camp tomorrow, I do not expect Rodgers to show up which will continue to pose a distraction to the team as this could drag into the regular season.
On top of having the franchise player in Green Bay being unhappy, star wide receiver Davante Adams is also disgruntled with the front office as the two sides have broken off long-term contract extension negotiations according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Adams and Rodgers both added gasoline on top of the fire already brewing in Green Bay when they both posted on Instagram a photo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen from “The Last Dance” without any caption. My guess form the post means that they need each other to win just like Jordan and Pippen did. In that case, I believe that the will be playing on the same team this season whether it is in Green Bay or not. Adams is looking to become the NFL’s highest paid wide receiver as he leads the league in touchdown receptions with 18, and is also the fifth-best receiver under the category of yards. On top of this, now would be a good time to give Adams a big extension considering he is in his prime at 28 years old. If the Packers are unable to reach an agreement, then Adams will hit the free agent market in 2022 as he is entering the final year of his contract. The Packers will be better off trading Adams to get as much as they can if they can not reach an agreement so they do not lose him for nothing.
Deshaun Watson- The other big headline this offseason has been Deshaun Watson requesting trade out of Houston back in January when they hired Nick Caserio as the new General Manager. This situation hit a speed bump when 23 lawsuits, now 22 active lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior towards Watson were released to the public. After Houston originally insisted that they were not trading their franchise quarterback, they have now changed their stance as they are now having discussions with other teams. However, the Texans feel that they have not received a serious enough offer yet but would trade him before the season begins if they find one they like. While Watson reported to Houston’s training camp yesterday, he still made it clear that he wants to be traded. The only reason Watson reported yesterday is because he would have been fined $50,000 every day he did not attend. In fact, Watson’s personal QB coach Quincy Avery told Adam Schefter on Friday that he expects Watson to be traded soon after he reported to training camp. According to multiple reports the return for Watson can be anywhere form three first-round picks up to five picks and starting caliber players. It is also important to remember that Watson has a no trade clause that he would need to waive to approve the final trade. Ultimately, I believe that a team will be willing to give up the asking price that the Texans want just because of how talented Watson is. While I understand that there are a lot of allegations against him right now and the league will do their own investigation and most likely suspend him, a team will still take him and bite the bullet with a suspension. If you look at recent history this has happened often where players got in trouble and teams still picked them up. For example, Kareem Hunt was under investigation for sexual assault and got released by the Kansas City Chiefs but then was picked up by the Cleveland Browns. Plus, Adrian Peterson, beat his son and the Minnesota Vikings kept him and now plays for the Washington Football Team. Finally, Tyreek Hill also beat his son and the Chiefs turned a blind eye toward the situation. Overall, talent always wins out in the NFL.
New England Patriots- The big storyline for the New England Patriots as they begin training camp tomorrow is who will be the starting quarterback week one of the regular season. The Patriots currently have Cam Newton, Brian Hoyer, Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham in their quarterback room. While Bill Belichick will not show his hand to the media on who he is favoring , I believe that Cam Newton will be under center week one as I do not see them going to a rookie quarterback right away. On top of that, I believe that Newton will get a second chance as he signed with New England late last year and had no training camp because of COVID-19. He also contracted COVID which could have affected his play. However, if Newton continue to struggle he will have a short leash and Belichick will likely move on to rookie Mac Jone out of Alabama. That would leave Stidham and Hoyer as the two odd men out of New England.
New Orleans Saints- For the first time in a long time the New Orleans Saints have a quarterback controversy as Drew Brees retired after last season. The quarterbacks currently on the roster are Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. The big domino effect that could decide this is that their star wide receiver Michael Thomas underwent surgery back in June to repair ligaments in his ankle. According to Ian Rapaport he will miss the beginning of the 2021 season as the surgery recommends four months of recovery time. This could lead to Taysom Hill being named the starter because he can make plays on his own with his feet. On top of that, Hill went 3-1 last season when he replaced an injured Drew Brees.
It will be very interesting to see how the NFL training camps play out as the rest of them start tomorrow.